Project Information & Reference for School Districts

Washington State School Districts may find the following information and forms useful when implementing facility design and construction projects. The Department of Enterprise Services and the Superintendent of Public Instruction have made this information available as requested by the 2011 Washington State Legislature in a proviso of the 2011-2013 Capital Budget bill (HB 1497, Section 7019 and 7029).

Forms and Reference

Consultant Selection


Architect and Engineer Selection Process

Selecting consultants who provide architectural, engineering, energy, or planning services

This applies to selecting architects or engineers (A/E) providing architectural, engineering, energy, and planning services to Engineering and Architectural Services (E&AS). Emergency projects may be exempted from this policy.

1. All architectural and engineering services shall be advertised (RCW 39.80.)

Private sector architectural and engineering (A/E) services required on projects managed by E&AS must be publicly advertised. Advertisements may solicit for a general category of services or for a specific type of architectural or engineering service required for an individual project or a defined collective group of projects.

Abbreviated advertisements are normally made in the Daily Journal of Commerce and selected local newspapers directing perspective A/Es to Current Projects Advertised for Consultant Selection and Washington’s Electronic Business Solutions (WEBS) for full text of the project announcement.

2. E&AS will set Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise (MWBE) goals for each project.

E&AS will set MWBE goals for each project that are consistent with the Department of Enterprise Services 2007 Business Equity Plan (BEA). Goal setting will be done prior to any publication and goals will be identified in the Public Works Requisition (PWR) or other correspondence. Project goals will be realistic and will consider at a minimum:

  • The number of certified MBEs and WBEs available to perform the contract work.
  • The demographics of the A/E consultant community.
  • E&AS’ success in attaining prior goals.

3. Consultants shall be selected on the basis of qualifications.

Consultants must have submitted their qualifications in response to a public advertisement by E&AS to be considered eligible for selection on an E&AS managed project. [See RCW 39.80.030].

Prospective architects or engineers are evaluated on the basis of qualifications and performance data established for a specific project. The selection procedure to evaluate qualifications shall be impartial.

Applicant’s qualifications and performance data shall be measured against the specific project selection criteria established for each project. Each panel member shall independently score each firm. The highest scored firm shall be deemed the most highly qualified of those considered.

4. E&AS shall establish and maintain A/E Reference File and Energy Services Company (ESCO) Reference files.

There shall be an annual A/E advertisement and a biennial ESCO advertisement requesting consultants to submit statements of qualifications and special capabilities for inclusion in the reference files.

These A/E reference file may be used in lieu of advertising on projects having an estimated consultant fee for total services under $150K. Statements of qualifications for these files shall be accepted year-round.

5. Selection procedures vary according to the project’s consultant fee. The following matrix shows the selections procedures:



A. Fees less than or equal to $100K (Expedited Selection) – Require Assistant Project Manager (APM) approval. May be used if the Project Manager (PM) and Client Agency agree. This process is used for selecting ocnsultant firms when there is a justified urgency.


B. Fees less than or equal to $350,000 (Small Project Selection) - The selection may be by the A/E Reference File sleection system, or by advertised RFQ.

  • Selection Panel – Consists of PM, client agency representative, and a mutually agreed third panel member from E&AS or the client agency.
  • Reference File – The reference files are used to obtain a list of prospective consultants for consideration.
  • Notification of Firms – All firms from the list are to be notified and provided an opportunity to provide supplemental information within a specified time period.
  • Additional advertising or pre-selection information sessions are not typically used.
  • Selection Phase I – The selection panel scores firms from the reference file using information in the file and any supplemental information provided to select the three highest scored firms.
  • Selection Phase II – A minimum of the three highest scored firms (if available) form Phase I are considered for final selection. Final selection can be done by an in-person interview, a phone interview, or based on information in the reference file (plus any supplemental information provided).
  • The highest scored firm will be invited for agreement negotiations.

C. Fees over $350K (Large Project Selection)

  • Selection Panel – Consists o two (2) project managers from E&AS, two (2) client agency representatives, and a private sector consultant. Non-voting observers are permissible by mutual agreement of the E&AS PM and the client agency representative.
  • Advertising – In the appropriate newspaper(s), DES website and Washington Electronic Business Enterprises (WEBS) is required. A current Diverse Business Outreach and Participation Plan must be included in the submittal.
  • A pre-selection information session is required prior to the Phase I submittal due date.
  • Selection Phase I – The selection panel scores firms who submit in response to the advertisement.
  • Selection Phase II – The highest scored firms are invited for an interview. A minimum of three highest scored firms (if available) will be interviewed.
  • The highest scored firm from the interview will be invited for agreement negotiations.

D. On-Call Unlimited Fees

On-call agreements are established for services that are needed for a defined period of time (typically a biennium). Multiple firms may be selected based on anticipated need. Firms selected using this process are not subject to a limit on the number of projects or fees under the authority of an on-call services agreement, unless otherwise provided in the agreement. However, the total fees per project are limited to less than or equal to $200,000. This process is not intended to circumvent the need to advertise for major projects (fees greater than $350K). It is intended for smaller projects and for testing, value engineering, constructability, commissioning services, etc.

  • Selection Panel – Consists of three (3) members that can be E&AS PMs or include client agency representatives.
  • Advertising – In the appropriate newspaper(s) DES website and Washington Electronic Business Enterprises (WEBS) is required.
  • A pre-selection information session is required prior to the Phase I submittal due date.
  • Phase I – The selection panel scores firms who submit a statement of qualifications in response to the advertisement.
  • Phase II – The highest scored firms from Phase I are considered for final selection. Final selection can be done by an in-person interview, a phone interview, or based on information submitted.
  • Using On-Call Firms – Firms selected using this process will be issued a project-specific agreement under the authority of their On-Call agreement. There is no minimum amount of work guaranteed under on-call agreements.

6. All changes to the seleciton policy or procedures must be approved by the DES E&AS Assistant Director.

Recommended variations for projects with unique requirements are to be submitted to the Assistant Director for approval.

7. The PM is the point of contact for all seleciton process inquiries.

The PM or Selection Facilitator will respond to all inquiries regarding consultant selections. Inquirer access to other seleciton panel members and/or client agency representatives will be at the discretion of the PM, in consultation with the selection panel and client agency representatives, as applicable.

8. Contracted consultants will be limited to the maximum total project fee threshold of the process by which they were selected.

Consultants will not be contracted for fees in excess of the maximum total thresholds of the process of their seleciton. In the event that total fees for services for a project are determined by the PM as likely to exceed the maximum seleciton threshold due to scolpe expansion, schedule extension, or other cause, a new consultant seleciton will be required using the process appropriate to the scope and budget of the expanded project. Other options include reducing the project scope to maintain the project fee threshold or obtaining exception approval from both the APM and the Assistant Director.

9. Discussion between panel members is permitted.

Discussion between panel members is permitted during the selection process. However, each panel member shall independently score each firm. Panel members shall not attempt to invluence aother panel members’ scoring.

10. Panelists are required to attend all of the Phase II in-person interviews.

Panelists who are not present throughout all of the Phase II in-person interviews shall not participate in post-interview panel deliberations for missed interviews, or int eh deliberation on the final seleciton, and shall not score and rank the finalists.

The PM has the right to delay the in-person interviews so a late-arriving panelist can attend, or choose to proceed with the interviews without the missing panel member(s). Substitution for a sick or unavailable panelist is permissible. However, the Phase II panel must contain at least two of the original Phase I panel members for the three member committee, and at least three of the original Phase I panel members for the five member committee for the selection to be considered valid.

An original panelist, unable to be present during all the in-person interviews and therefore losing voting rights, can observe and participate in interviews that follow a missed interview, including the Question/Answer period, with the concurrence ot the remaining voting panel members. Non-voting personnel from E&AS or the client agency may observe the interview, but shall not participate in panel deliberations or scoring of the finalists.

11. Ranking ties on panelist’s Phase I scoresheets must be broken.

Ties in the 'Rank Order' column of the individual panelist’s Phase I scoresheets are not permitted. Panelists must individually determine how they will break a ranking tie on their scoresheet.

12. Ties in the panel’s combined rankings in Phase II must be broken.

Ranking ties on both the individual panelist’s scoresheet and the combined panel’s rankings shall be broken. Panelists must individually determine how they will break a ranking tie on their scoresheet.

13. Fee negotiations shall be fair and reasonable.

Fair and reasonable consultant fees must be negotiated in accordance with the current edition of the 'Office of Financial Managmeent Guidelines for Determining Archtiect/Engineer Fees for Public Works Building Projects' as determined applicable by E&AS. Any fee negotiated must reflect the project scope, complexity, and professional nature of the services required. [RCW 39.80.050]

14. Negotiations may be terminated.

If agreement negotiations with the first-ranked finalist are unsuccessful, the PM may request approval from the APM to formally terminate negotiations. Upon written termination of the first-ranked finalist, negotiations with the next-ranked finalist can then begin.

15. Selection documentation is available for public review.

Phases I and II scoresheets and ranking sheets, and other project selection documentation become public records and are available to the public by written request only after the Phase II in-person interviews are complete, selection has been made, and the finalists have been notified of the results.

16. Consultant Selection Policy does not apply for fully authorized declared emergency projects (RCW 36.04.280)

For an emergency project, the PM, in consultation with the Client Agency, will promptly acquire teh consultant services necessary to address the emergency by direclty selecting the consultant(s). Consultants may be selected from the A/E Reference File.

Top of Page